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September 30th, 2008
04:43 PM ET

The Sarah Palin pity party

Rebecca Traister
Salon.com

Is this the week that Democrats and Republicans join hands - to heap pity on poor Sarah Palin?

At the moment, all signs point to yes, as some strange bedfellows reveal that they have been feeling sorry for the vice-presidential candidate ever since she stopped speaking without the help of a teleprompter. Conservative women like Kathleen Parker and Kathryn Jean Lopez are shuddering with sympathy as they realize that the candidate who thrilled them, just weeks ago, is not in shape for the big game. They're not alone. The New Republic's Christopher Orr feels that Palin has been misused by the team that tapped her. In the New York Times, Judith Warner feels for Sarah, too! And over at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates empathizes with intelligence and nuance, making clear that he's not expressing pity. Salon's own Glenn Greenwald watched the Katie Couric interview and "actually felt sorry for Sarah Palin." Even Amy Poehler, impersonating Katie Couric on last week's "Saturday Night Live," makes the joke that Palin's cornered-animal ineptitude makes her "increasingly adorable."

I guess I'm one cold dame, because while Palin provokes many unpleasant emotions in me, I just can't seem to summon pity, affection or remorse.

Don't get me wrong, I'm just like all of the rest of you, part of the bipartisan jumble of viewers that keeps one hand poised above the mute button and the other over my eyes during Palin's disastrous interviews. Like everyone else, I can barely take the waves of embarrassment that come with watching someone do something so badly. Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem, Sofia Coppola acting in "The Godfather: Part III," Sarah Palin talking about Russia - they all create the same level of eyeball-squinching discomfort.

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Filed under: Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. John

    A bimbo trying to be something that she is not. Her character is so transparent.
    Should we blame McCain for being so careless or should we blame Palin for accepting the spot . I would say neither.
    It is upto the voters to get rid off them.
    A 72 year old about to die any time and his side kick Bimbo is not what America deserve.
    It is the voters moral responsibility to get rid of this odd ticket.
    Pow card & gender card doesn't work this time.
    This is too insane.
    America is smarter. Get rid off them

    September 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  2. Barbara Boneville

    I have no pity for Ms Sarah, this is the big league, sorry the media is asking you the tough questions like what newspaper you read or what your experience with foreign policy is or even your thoughts on the economy....OMG no not that "Gotcha Journalism "again!
    Read the job description that you are clearly unqualified to apply for.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  3. jim

    It continues to blow me away of the fact the Palin is portrayed as someone who could not apply for a job she is not qualified for (VP) and yest you have Mr. Obama is is applying for the position of President with LESS on his resume. It appears logic does not play a role in who we pick for office. So, do we really want a change so bad that we are willing to overlook common sense to get it. Perhaps I could see the argument if Hilary was running. But please, let's not insult our intelligence, Palin is what she is but to make Obama be something more than what he is stupid. Let's not be sheep...

    September 30, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  4. Charlie

    If there is a pity party going on, save it for the voters that are allowing themselves to be duped by Mrs Palin's fashionable appearence and obvious lack of real intellect. Does she ever listen to her own comments?? Her responses from media questions are rather far fetched and make no logical sense. She seems out of her league and politically out of touch once she leaves the haven of Alaska. Do us all a favor and return to Alaska and try to govern the constituents there. I don't intend to waste casting a vote to a political party that only caters to the ultra rich and corporations. Her party won't lift a finger to help the average citizen. To them, only money talks and you know what walks, right???

    September 30, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  5. Christopher

    For everyone's information,when Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin her opinion about the morning after pill she said that it wasn't an option that she would take part in. But before that she stated she was for preventive type measures of contraception. I am a pharmacology major and just so everyone knows, the morning after pill is taken to PREVENT pregnancy from occuring, not terminating a pre-existing one. It does this by thickening the cervical mucus so that the sperm can not survive the "trip" through the uterus. I wonder if she would condone or condemn it after she is informed of what the morning after pill really is.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  6. Kisha

    Palin is not ready. To feel sorry for her is only adding insult to injury. Am I to think that as a woman she cannot speak up for herself. If the questions were unfair (interview) then say so! Or better yet deflect the way McBush does when he cannot accurately answer a question. Sarah Palin was a dear in the headlights (stunned, dazed, confused) she needs to get out before she becomes road kill.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  7. Eve

    I don't pity Palin. I am ashamed that a woman like that is proposed to potentially become president of this wonderful country and affirms she could do the job. Any ten year old could have said what he reads. She may never have looked at The New York Times, maybe she considers it a sinful paper... This woman has no knowledge of the world, certainly less than a smart ten year old who has intelligent dinner conversations with his/her parents. She could maybe a cheerleader in Washington, except that she is really too old for that. She should just go back to Alaska where they seem to like a brash, big mouthed, moose hunting woman, a killer of animals, a mother who spends no time with her kids, except to show them her kill. I do pity her unhappy last born who needs love and attention, not an unrealistic self absorbed cold mother who wants to be president, like first graders sometimes say. Too bad we have to watch this circus. I hope MacCain is solidly defeated with his dulcinea who got his endrenalin going and managed to fool him. We are not fooled, rather fed up with her tralala... and his senile lies and sarcasmes.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  8. Carol, PA

    I don't think any of the questions posed to Sarah Palin have been unfair or complicated. Her responses make little sense to me. How could you not recall the names of publications you claim to read and instead give an answer of all of them?

    I'm very concerned about the possibility of her becoming vice president. It's not a matter of lack of experience, after all she is a sitting governor and former mayor. She is just not the type of person I would want making important decisions or meeting with foreign dignitaries. Oh please Sarah, (aka Joe six-pack) you seem like a nice enough person, but this is just way out of your league. This has nothing to do with gender or even lack of experience. You just don't have what it takes.

    September 30, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  9. SHANE RICHARDSON Los Angeles,CA

    IN THE CASE OF GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN VS. "GOTCHA" JOURNALISM.

    I think the question is:

    Where is this "gotcha" journalism.
    Can we (voting constituents) afford not to ask "hypothetical questions" of our countries elected leaders?

    This is not a media tactic or a strategy and Governor Palin should not be treated any different from others seeking a high level political position.

    A "hypothetical answer" is a special kind of information that demonstrates the essential qualities; necessary to be in charge of running America : preparedness, foresight and the skill of anticipation, so we as a bipartisan country can engage in an informed type of preventive medicine for what ails the U.S. political system, our country from Main street to Wall street and the world as a whole.

    Don't these answers or lack thereof regarding issues of domestic or foreign policies; and all forms of national or international security reflect the seriousness of this time in our nations history and the attention to detail and problem solving needed to address them?

    September 30, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  10. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    I find it quite interesting that those who choose to criticize Sarah Palin the most feel she doesn't have the intellect to handle the job of VP. Have any of you tried to run for public office? It takes more than personality to be elected to mayor (even of a small town) or governor of a state (even if it has a small population). Palin is new to the national stage, and I would imagine that at times, no matter how well prepared you might be, your thoughts will come out as scrambled and incomplete.

    Frankly, I find it refreshing that we now have the opportunity to have someone in the administration who isn't a lawyer, former military officer, senator, or congressman. Maybe we'll have someone who can tell Congress to cut the crap they try to feed us and move forward on issues that can benefit the majority of Americans without tacking on additional money for their own pet projects. Who better to "clean house" than a housewife and mother?

    September 30, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  11. Linda

    Palin deserves no pity. When she agreed to run with McCain, she should have realized that people would ask her tough questions. She is embarrassing and I think the rest of the world will quickly peg her as just a pretty face. We don't need a trophy VP.

    September 30, 2008 at 8:55 pm |
  12. Edie

    Here is my question....
    Why is Sarah Palin being handled w/kit gloves in interviews (3 to date) & the republican spokespeople & pundits insinuating that in the forthcoming debate w/Senator Biden that he needs to handle her w/care unless he wants to come off looking like a bully?
    Let me set the stage...Hillary Clinton, is vp nominee. Hillary is in a debate w/a male repub vp nominee. Would we be having this discussion?
    It infuriates me!!

    September 30, 2008 at 8:55 pm |
  13. Kathy, RN

    Anyone who loves America would never vote for the McBush/Palin ticket. You would after seeing her interviews vote for this ticket? Why? When she opens her mouth and speaks she obviously is clueless. McBush has had cancer 7 times, is 72 years old and you risk America and its citizens by voting for this ticket? Wake up America! Could you ever see her as the President? Does that not scare you? She is such a idiot. Go home Sara. Go back into the woods and stay there for the safety of all Americans.

    September 30, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  14. George

    The pity party is going to be just before the election. The GOP is making statements stating Palin should quit the race. What a boost for McCain. I believe she was picked for this reason only, to be a sacrfice to take the focus off McCain. Think about the emotional voting if Palin resigned a few days before the election. McCain picks someone else who has been off radar (Romney or maybe even his "fishing buddy") A move like this from the GOP who has mislead the US for the past 8 years would be par for the course. The emotional, not he rational vote would prevail.

    September 30, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  15. Deepak

    No need to have pity for Pelin. After all, havn't we suffered enough for last 7 years by electing the lowest intelectual President in the history of the United States? Americans shoud read a book titled "Dumbass" written by Jules Carlysle which summarizes Bush's misstatements and shows the level of his IQ, which cannot match that of any high school graduate in the US.

    Hope McCain is soundly defeated for choosing Pelin, and thus insulting the Vice president's position. Wish Presidential and vice Presidential candidates are required to have IQ test!!

    September 30, 2008 at 7:52 pm |
  16. Jim

    Yes please send her back, then you will see Russia from the White House.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  17. Kent, Illinois

    She could have avoided all of this mess by just saying she doesn't know much about foreign affairs. Seems to have worked for McCain........He told us he knows nothing about the economy. But he went to Washington to fix it? Hmmmm

    September 30, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  18. Lorry

    McCain used Palin for political reason only. No other reason. And why on earth is McCain by Palin's side when they appeared in Katie Couric's second interview. The first interview was embarrasing enough, the second one is so pathetic for McCain and his party. ENOUGH of McCain's irritating tactics. He can only fool the republicans but not the democrats or independents.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:36 pm |
  19. Pat

    I don't know who thought Sarah Palin would be a viable candidate for VP, they have made a huge mistake. I don't think we should pity her but whatever you do don't vote for her.

    Who are these people who are comparing Obama to Palin? Are you from another planet? Obama has more than proved that he can take this country in a new direction and makes me feel proud to be an american again.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  20. eddy

    She needs to quit ..She is so hurting Mccain and the Rebulican party..She needs to GO now ..She is the worst VP canidate America has ever seen and ever will

    September 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  21. portland

    I'd like to say something positive here. Sarah Palin has awesome teleprompter-reading skills! It makes her shrill even shrillier. And comparing her wherewithal and intellect to Barack Obama ... hahah hahaha hahah. Good one!

    September 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  22. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    Of all the absolutely qualified Republican women in the country ...... Sarah Palin ?????????????????????? I think Johnny Mac might just be suffering from a bit dimensia. He is 72 you know. My God how can this man go to sleep at night with a clear Conscious if he really cares so much about this country and its people.
    .

    Some of the few words I heard Karzai say to her at the UN sounded like someone talking to a High School Parent chaperone on a school sponsored UN tour, For a minute there I thought Palin was going to ask for his autograph.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:30 pm |
  23. Nina

    Well, maybe if Mrs. Palin starts speaking in tongs during her debate on Thursday...she will be a shoe-in for sure.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  24. Mike

    Obama might utter a few um's and ah's in answering questions, but still ends up making a point, and usually an intelligent point, at that. Palin has only demonstrated that she can repeat whatever she is taught to say, and when pressed for a clarity her answers morph into something your teenage daughter might say. We have a sitting President who proves everyday the mistake we can make when we don't value intelligence as a requirement for leading our Country.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  25. Neil Bezaire

    PALIN: PARVENUE OR INGENUE

    Watching Governor Palin being hoisted by Senator McCain to the top of the Republican ticket is like observing a novice actress from Wasilla Community Theater being foisted on N.Y.C. audiences by a powerful sugar daddy producer to play Lady Macbeth on Broadway. I wouldn't bet on it.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  26. Patty Harris

    To Justine, So who do you think I am? I am who I said I am that's why I can put my name on here and say what I think, just as you can. It's called Freedom of Speach. Oh and by the way, there are a lot of us white middle aged women who won't vote for Obama – that is our choice and it doesn't mean we have to be rude, nasty and disgusting. Don't forget you will be middleaged someday.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:24 pm |
  27. Betty, CA

    From the first time I heard her speak, I was frightened. She couldn't make up her mind about any legislation in Alaska, (first a bridge, then no bridge. Then drill no drill) How is going to help run the whole country.
    She hasn't got a clue about domestic or foreign issues. Seems like McCain has to run and cover her you know what everytime she does an interview.
    The thought of her running the country if anything happened to McCain is something of a nightmare.
    I am soooooooo sick of listening to stories of McCain's military service. Yes we applaud him and praise him for his service. But lets move on. How about taking care of the veterans that need help here. Homeless, Jobless, Sick He is not the only veteran, we need to care for them ALL

    September 30, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  28. Cindy

    @ Sam, Ca...You can't down Palin and not Obama when he has the exact same problem. It's worse with him though because he is the head of the dem ticket! That is why he was brought up! If the truth hurts ya...oh well!

    Cindy...Ga.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:17 pm |
  29. Valencia, Jacksonville FL

    Palin may be an intelligent woman, in her own right. However, at the moment, she is scary to watch. Not only because she doesn't currently have enough knowledge and leadership ability to take over in case of McCain's demise or incapacitation (which is extremely likely considering his age and poor health); but also because she doesn't seem to care how her ignorance reflects on herself or those whom she is vying to represent.

    Obama may stutter, but the words that come from his mouth show deep thought and exude intelligence. Palin, on the other hand, is quick to simply spit out the first thing that comes to mind; repeatedly displaying a lack of knowledge about both foreign and domestic issues; making herself look like a bumbling idiot.

    September 30, 2008 at 7:17 pm |
  30. Annie Kate

    Palin is so bad its mind numbing. Thinking about her being VP is a nightmare. What was McCain thinking when he selected her?

    Before McCain selected Palin he talked on and on about how inexperienced Obama was and that this inexperience did not qualify him to be President. So why did he think Palin who is terribly inexperienced as well was any better?

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 30, 2008 at 7:09 pm |
  31. Linda George

    Sarah Palin is a really smart, sharp lady, but she isn't qualified to run for or be VP of the US. The idea that John McCain could be elected and die in office, making Palin President, scares me more than our economic situation. If she can't answer questions from Katie Couric, how could she possibly deal with the world's leaders and the enormous burden of dealing with this economic tragedy?

    Sarah, it's time for you to admit you're over your head and starting to drown. Go home!!!!

    September 30, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
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